Despite what you may have heard in the past, it isn’t difficult to maintain a vegan diet. Even for myself, a full-time college student in the Boston area, eating vegan is something I have adapted to and taken on quite easily. Admittedly, I was a little fearful that maintaining my diet would become difficult once I got to campus. And surely, there are plenty of tips and tricks to learn when you’re trying to eat vegan on a college campus. If you’re interested in exploring that, I’ll include the link to that article here: https://diplomatsdigest.wordpress.com/2018/10/29/vegan-college-dining-hall-hacks/

Anyhow, I’m so excited to share a week in my life as a nineteen year-old busy student. Please let me know if you try any of these meals; I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Day One: On the mornings when I have some time to spare, and (hopefully) an accessible kitchen, I like to treat myself to a savory, mouth-watering breakfast sandwich. This particular sandwich is just as delicious and simple to make as a conventional “sausage egg and cheese”- we’re just subbing out all three of those things with vegan alternatives. For the “eggs,” I cut slices of extra firm tofu, coat it with turmeric and pepper, and fry it as you would for any egg. The “sausage” I use is from the brand Lightlife, and “cheese” is a cheddar-style slice by Daiya. Combined together, they make for an incredibly tasty and filling breakfast. I recommend serving it up with tator tots or crispy crowns.


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Day Two: Although I’m not the biggest fan of spinach, I don’t mind it at all in the form of this tofu scramble breakfast burrito. These microwavable burritos by Amy’s Kitchen come in a variety of delicious vegan and gluten-free flavors, and are super quick to whip up if you’re short on time. They also pack 11g of protein per serving, which is crucial to keep you energized and sustained throughout the day. Did I mention that Amy’s also makes a variety of other comfort-food frozen dinners and snacks? Bring on the mac and cheese.


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Day Three: If I have an early class, or if I simply don’t wake up feeling hungry, I coax my stomach awake with a warm bowl of oatmeal. I feel like oatmeal is extremely underrated- have you guys ever tried dousing it with brown sugar and raspberries? The results are a truly sweet and delicious breakfast, packed with fiber and antioxidants. It’s not hard to make a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast feel like a nice, warm, dessert. 


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Day Four: If you have a little extra time to spare, this delicious smoothie bowl is yet another one of my sweet-tooth favorites. Smoothie bowls are extremely customizable, but I frequently enjoy using açai as my base and then packing on peanut butter and bananas. Cacao nibs, also known as “nature’s chocolate chips,” make for yet another delicious addition to a smoothie bowl. Not only do these bowls taste delicious, but they also photograph amazingly! Your friends and family will be impressed by your seemingly incredible talent for dressing foods.


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Day Five: For all of my vegan + gluten free babes out there, these are the waffles for you. Van’s Foods is one of my favorite breakfast staples, and their waffles taste no different than your favorite Eggo’s growing up. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they also have 75% less fat than the leading frozen waffle (cough, cough.) That being said, I’m sure Eleven and the rest of the Stranger Things cast would approve of this tasty breakfast treat.


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Day Six: As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I’m a big fan of peanut butter and bananas. In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s one of my favorite food combos, right behind chocolate and peanut butter. That being said, I couldn’t leave out peanut butter banana toast, could I? It’s been one of my favorite snacks since high school, and is easy to make in both your personal kitchen and your college dining hall. If you really want to amp things up, I recommend frying the bread in vegetable oil. It makes for a greasy and satisfying late-night snack!


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Day Seven: If you really feel like stepping up your breakfast game and indulging yourself, give these vegan pancakes by Tasty a whirl. They are made using kitchen staples you probably already have in your pantry, and they’re extremely customizable as well. I don’t have time to make them often, but when I do, I always make sure Duke is treated to a tiny pup-cake as well!


Pancake recipe: https://tasty.co/recipe/the-fluffiest-vegan-pancakes

Tasty kid’s pancake recipe: https://tasty.co/recipe/kid-friendly-vegan-pancakes

Picture Credits: Amy’s Kitchen, Van’s Foods, Well Plated by Erin, and Tasty

Coming up next: Holiday Gift Guide 2018

 

I freaking love fall. And I don’t care what Jim Gaffigan says about it not being a competition, IT IS. Who’s going to make the best fall dessert? Who’s going to execute the most aesthetically pleasing fall activities? Decisions, decisions.

Okay, maybe that’s a tad over-the-top, but I stand by my statement that I absolutely adore the fall season. November especially is when those chilly vibes are here to stay- no more awkward occasional days of warmness dotted about. That nostalgic (and nearly impossible to describe) smell of autumn begins to fill your nose as you head outside and step over a patch of crunchy leaves. And, of course, fall becomes the perfect opportunity for introverts such as I to shut ourselves up in the house and bake happily for hours on end.

So what’s in season for the month of November? You may be surprised to find there are quite a few things.

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Would it really be the perfect fall without some apple picking? To my knowledge, I’ve already made three apple desserts so far since October. Loaded with antioxidants and dietary fibers, consuming apples can actually reduce the risk of cancer. The versatility of this fruit means you can incorporate it into a variety of incredible dishes, especially for vegans like me. It’s surprisingly not difficult to turn apple pie vegan- just sub out the butter for vegan margarine and verify that your sugar is vegan as well. I love this vegan apple crisp from The Minimal Baker, so be sure to check it out! https://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-vegan-apple-crisp/

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Cranberries, in my opinion, have earned a bad rep for being too tart and hard. I myself was hesitant to give in- until I tried cranberries coated in sugar (and once I did, there was no turning back!). Cranberries can be bought frozen year-round, but the week before thanksgiving is when you’ll start to see them pop up fresh. Cranberries become sweet once simmered in water, and from there, the possibilities are endless. Being extremely low in calories and high in vitamin c, cranberries make a lovely guilt-free holiday snack. Here’s a vegan cranberry cheesecake recipe you’ll be dying to try: https://cookinglsl.com/raw-vegan-cranberry-cheesecake-bars-recipe/

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Oranges, though able to be purchased year-round, taste best in their natural harvest season of November to March. Oranges are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and can even lower the risk of strokes in women. We all know oranges with chocolate is absolutely to DIE for, but have you ever tried orange cranberry muffins? Try this delicious vegan holiday recipe by The Veg Life here: https://theveglife.com/cranberry-orange-muffins-vegan/

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I’ll admit, I tend to be a little picky with my vegetables- especially the texture change they go through once cooked. Squash is something I’ll happily make an exception for- it remains buttery and delicious no matter how you cook it. There seems to be a misconception that squash can’t be good for you because it tastes to heavenly, but that couldn’t be more incorrect. Squash is loaded with vitamin a, which supports a healthy immune system and boosts your bone health. Next time you need something to do on a chilly November night, try out this delicious butternut squash soup by The Simple Veganista: https://simple-veganista.com/2012/11/roasted-butternut-squash-soup.html

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Finally, how could I not include gourds and pumpkins? Not only are they an adorable autumn decoration, but they also make for some of the most classic fall-themed recipes. Pumpkins also have a low calorie count and promote weight loss, so you can feel a little less guilt the next time you dig into a big ‘ole slice of pumpkin pie this holiday season. Speaking of, here’s a vegan AND gluten free pumpkin pie you can impress your family with this Thanksgiving: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-pumpkin-pie/

Coming up: Crystal Diary: Red Jasper

(All pictures are courtesy of Pixels)

 

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No matter who you are or what your diet consists of, trying to find satisfying meals on a college campus can be tricky. Being a vegan (which I recognize is a privilege that comes with given challenges,) I have struggled myself to eat fulfilling meals consistently on campus. Sure, my college can claim we have a “tasteful and diverse” vegan subdivision, but let’s face it- undercooked tofu and mushy greens only go so far. After a few weeks of that, well, even a bowl of croutons seems like a more appealing meal. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that.

The trick is to spend some time getting to know your dining hall and what resources you can utilize to make your own favorite meals. For example, my college has a gluten-free zone that also carries a lot of vegan products (waffles, vegan cream cheese, etc.) And, more importantly over everything, don’t be afraid to ask your school for accomodations if you really feel like you’re struggling to eat well on a daily basis. I know more than anybody that confrontation can be really awkward (I literally cried from embarrassment asking the dining hall staff to make a pizza without cheese.) Thankfully, if you’re patient and overall friendly about it, you’ll receive assistance in return. For instance, the pizza fiasco ended with the staff very kindly making me my own vegan pizza that night vegan cream cheese, which surprisingly wasn’t too bad. Because guess what? It’s their job to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Anyhow, I’m going to reveal to you some of my favorite meals to make on campus, ranging from breakfast to dinner, and even some dessert hacks you can make in your dorm if it comes equipped with a stove.

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Breakfast: Most mornings, I don’t have much time for a sit-down breakfast in my dining hall. I ALWAYS make a point of grabbing a coffee, even if I have to do without sugar or creamer. If you can afford it, I would strongly suggest buying a small Keurig or coffee maker to keep in your room, along with your favorite dairy-less creamer if you have a small fridge. That way, you can always have coffee on hand, just the way you prefer it!

My favorite simple go-to breakfast is two slices of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and bananas. It touches everything on my vegan meal checklist: high in protein, filling, and most importantly, delicious. It’s also highly customizable. You want to switch it up and add strawberries instead? Go for it. Feeling like sprinkling on some chia seeds? The possibilities are endless.

Really, the key to a flavorful vegan breakfast is fresh fruit. Oatmeal, though usually vegan, is a pretty blah breakfast on its own. I always add in a generous amount of raspberries and strawberries when I have oatmeal, along with totally outrageous amounts of brown sugar.

For some campus dining services (such as Chartwells), you can find the daily menus posted online your school’s website. I check our school’s menu at least four times a week to see what the vegan options are, and what I should plan ahead for. Some menus are even designated with symbols to show you which food items are safe for vegans, which can make your eating experience waaaay easier to plan for. The day I found out our tator tots were vegan was a huge game changer in my breakfast routine on campus.

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Lunch: As a vegan, it is my responsibility to ensure that I am constantly getting enough protein throughout the day. Bottled fruit smoothies and protein bars (especially Clif bars) make for a great filling snack when I don’t have time for a sit-down lunch. If you do have time to spare, however, wraps and sandwiches are going to be your new best friend.

Because my campus is relatively close to a supermarket, I heavily take advantage of buying my own food staples. For example, if you are unsatisfied with your dining hall meatless protein options, consider paying a visit to a local grocery store. Even just a once-a-week stop can give you enough time to stock up on vegan protein options, like meatless turkey and ham. Lightlife is my absolutely favorite brand for these substitutes, and I’ve thankfully had luck finding their products at several different grocery chains. From there, you can customize your own wraps and sandwiches just as anybody else would in the dining hall. Sure, it’s a little annoying that we have to go out on an extra limb to eat the same food quality as everyone else, but it’s the burden we’ve basically chosen to take.

Dinner: I’m a food slut for two specific dishes: stir fry and burritos. Luckily, both of which are incredibly easy to veganize! Rice is a great staple for any vegan diet, and is indisputably something you can find in any basic dining hall. Take a flour tortilla, some lettuce, a scoop of rice and beans, and boom, you’ve got yourself the perfect dinner. Stir fry is another great way to get in some veggies if your school offers it, and if not, it could be something to advocate for.

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Desserts: My dining hall struggles enough to make regular vegan options steadily available, forget about dessert. However, fear not- all it takes is a communal oven and a couple basic kitchen staples to make your own desserts yourself. In my closet-turned-pantry, I constantly have cooking oil, bottles of unsweetened applesauce, and cake mixes stocked. And really, that’s all you need to make a fluffy vegan cake or brownie batch on a whim. As long as the mix you are using is free of milk traces, you can substitute eggs for the applesauce and still make a fantastic cake. So good, in fact, you might just have to eat it out of the pan…

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Thank you so much for reading this far, if you’ve made it. I look forward to hearing your own favorite vegan meals to cook on campus!

To some extent, learning to cook your own meals can feel like learning to drive a car. It takes quite a bit of practice, it can be messy, and it’s something that you (might) inevitably need to learn in order to be a functioning adult. Obviously, not everybody is going to be a first-class chef, just like not everybody is going to be the perfect driver (myself included.) However, since becoming a vegan this summer, I can genuinely say that the quality of my diet and energy has improved. My energy throughout the day is more sustained, my mood is regulated, and I look forward to trying new foods and recipes every week.

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Going into my second year of college with my new diet, I decided that cooking my own meals would be more effective than frequenting the dining hall. I did have some doubts at first; after all, wouldn’t it be less expensive and time-consuming to eat my college’s food? Sure, if you’re content with shoveling done plain pasta and a dry salad every day.

Armed with three cookbooks and a very generous gift card from my mother, I stocked up  my pantry with olive oil, spices, pasta, and bread. And, miraculously, I fit $60 worth of produce into my tiny refrigerator. And thus, my new favorite hobby was born!

There are an abundance of advantages to cooking your own meals in college. For me, one of the biggest perks is that I now have control over my diet. What I consume in a day isn’t dependent on what’s available in the dining hall; it’s in my own hands what I choose to it. A lot of the foods I make, such as pasta salad and burrito bowls, can be made in bulk and refrigerated up to five days. This makes shopping relatively cheap for me, as I’m only cooking for one person. Because I eat a diet high in protein and fiber, many of my meals are hearty and keep my stomach full for hours. I remember the struggle of my stomach always being peckish my freshman year, because the majority of what I ate was carbohydrates and sugars. No matter how hard you try to eat healthy on a college campus, it’s hard to choose a salad for dinner when there’s a tray of penne pasta staring at you from across the room.

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Because I am paying for all my food out of pocket, I’m forced to take accountability for my spending habits and money management. While I used to find myself blowing cash on clothes and useless dorm decorations, I’m now counting down the penny on every paycheck. Obviously I treat myself to something nice every once, but the concept of disposable income is much more important to me now. After all, money only gets tighter from here, so I might as well learn to manage it and shop for food smartly while I can.

Being a vegan has not only changed the way I feel about my body, but it has also given me a more open-minded outlook on food. These past months have opened my eyes to foods I never even considered buying before, like vegan mayo and tofu (the former is extremely delicious, by the way.) While a vegan diet may not be right for everyone, the benefits have definitely changed my life for the better. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about recipes, brands, or just to chit chat in general! I love sharing my favorite meals to cook with others.

I love a hot fudge sundae or a stack of pancakes as much as the next person. The key to being vegan, of course, is simply to find appropriate alternatives for the dishes I already love! Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite comfort foods, how I prepare them, and where you can find them to make them yourselves. Let’s start with breakfast and work our way up from there.


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Waffles

Brand: Van’s Foods

Key ingredients: Soy & wheat

Initially, I was skeptical of how tasty a dairy-free egg-free waffle could possibly be. Luckily, one taste of these fantastic convinced me otherwise and got me absolutely hooked. The blueberries add a sweetness and perfect punch of flavor, and the four grams of protein per serving make it a healthy choice as well. These are, hands down, the best frozen waffles I have ever tried to this day. And did I mention there are fifteen grams of whole grains per serving?


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Milk

Brand: Almond Breeze

Key Ingredients: Almonds

While milk itself isn’t exactly a comfort food, it is a key ingredient I use in many of my recipes to make vegan breakfasts and desserts. Almond milk is deliciously creamy and low in calories, making it a great (and sometimes necessary) kitchen staple for any non-dairy consumers. Sugary cereals and breakfast shakes are incomplete without a “dairy” aspect, and almond milk does the job great for me. You can find almond milk (or any variation of non-dairy milk) at your local supermarket.


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Buttery Spread

Brand: Earth Balance

Key ingredients: Vegetable Oil

Similarly to milk, butter itself is not a “comfort food.” It is, however, a crucial ingredient in many of the dishes I prepare. As someone who remains a big fan of mashed potatoes, pancakes, cookies, and toast, making the foods I love is nearly impossible without the aid of a buttery replacement. This particular spread by Earth Balance has a light, creamy flavor, which makes it versatile and ideal for any basic recipe. You can find vegan spread at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or any local grocery store.


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Hot Dogs

Brand: LightLife

Key ingredients: Soy

I must confess: I did genuinely enjoy the taste of hot dogs before I became vegan. I’ve never been a large fan of beefy, tough-textured meats, but there was something softer about hot dogs and bologna that I actually liked. Luckily, the taste and texture of these meats can be easily replicated with soy products, and LightLife plant protein foods do just that. Their “smart dogs” are non-GMO certified and contain seven grams of protein, making them both a delicious and health-conscious choice. You can find them easily at almost any local supermarket.


Bologna

Brand: Yves

Key ingredients: Soy and wheat

One of my favorite things about a “bologna” and cheese sandwich is the pure simplicity of it. I’m not a fancy eater, by any means, and my preferred tastes tend to be rather mild and moderate. With that established, I am totally satisfied with nothing more than this sandwich with a side of pasta salad and potato chips. It’s fast, it’s easy to prepare, and it keeps my tummy happy for hours on end. The Yves bologna slices are 100% vegan, kosher, and low in fat, on top of being an excellent source of plant protein. If you find yourself having a difficult time digesting large amounts of soy, consider taking a digestion aid pill before digging into these slices (I learned this for myself the hard way.) After that, dig in and enjoy!


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Ice Cream

Brand: So Delicious

Key ingredients: Cashews

Working as a hostess in a restaurant, I see tons of food coming in and out of the kitchen every night. One dish in particular that caught my eye was a chocolate fudge brownie paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and I knew I’d immediately have to try to prepare one myself. Because I am allergic to coconut on top of eating dairy-free, the vegan options for ice cream were little to none. Luckily, a bit of poking around the internet led me to find cashew milk ice cream- especially the flavors by the brand So Delicious. The calorie count is significantly less than that in dairy milk ice cream, but the taste is nearly identical. For my little treat, I paired it with the Cherrybrook kitchen dairy-free fudge brownie mix, and the results were phenomenal. The brownies were also gluten-free, which meant my mother could enjoy a piece as well! Overall, the ice cream is totally perfect for me, and maybe even for you as well. I picked up both the ice cream and the brownie mix at my local grocery store, so make sure to take a peek yourself!


 

 

 

There seems to be an assumption going around that vegans only eat raw fruits and vegetables. I, in fact, first learned about this phenomenon through a meme on facebook:

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I mean, for one thing, I haven’t had a “heavy night out” in years. I’m more into the “stay at home and binge-watch The Office” scene. With a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Or a plate of enchiladas.

So clearly, my dietary needs extend a little bit beyond celery and sliced apples. I like a hearty, filling meal just as much as the next person- just without the whole murdering-innocent-animals component. And thus, the veggie burger was born.

If you’ve read up to this point, I’m hoping it’s safe to say you’re interested in my favorite foods to eat on the daily. This is an average meal plan for me, including snacks and how much water I aim to consume over the course of the day.

9:30am

The time that I eat breakfast varies from day to day, but generally, it’s after eight and before eleven. If I’m working an A.M. shift for that particular day, I’ll probably skip the smoothie bowl and grab some cereal instead. Buuut, if I’ve got some time to kill, a smoothie bowl is ALWAYS a go-to. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and the results are always remarkably tasty. This morning, I blended frozen mango chunks, ice, and bananas to get a base for the bowl- about a handful of each. To garnish and give it that insta-ready look, I added some more bananas, some strawberries, kiwi, peanut butter, granola, and cocoa pieces. The results are refreshing and filling, delivering a perfect punch of protein to get me through the day. Along with the smoothie bowl, I also enjoyed some iced coffee (a must) and a glass of water. I also prepare my portable water bottle, which I enhance by adding fresh fruits or cucumbers.

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1:00pm

Lately, I’ve been on a meatless meatball kick. These “meatballs” from Trader Joe’s are truly top notch, and add a rich flavor to any savory meal. Did I mention there are twelve grams of protein in every serving? Because they can be so filling, I sometimes choose to just enjoy them alone. Today, however, I added in a cup of steamed vegetables to bring some color to my meal. By lunchtime, I’ve probably downed half of my water bottle- if not more. Once you make drinking water a routine priority in your daily life, the rest is easy. Drinking water comes just as mindlessly to me as blinking or breathing- it’s not something I need to remind myself to do. Not only does drinking an adequate amount of water keep you feeling hydrated and awake, it’s also great for keeping your skin looking blemish-free.

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5:00pm

Before I became a vegan, one of the hardest things I envisioned giving up was pizza. On top of being the token dish at every social get-together, pizza is simple to make and extremely tasty. The good news is, vegan pizza is just as easy to make (and dare I say, even tastier.) My favorite way to prepare pizza is on a piece of vegan naan bread, which is available at most chain grocery stores. Feel free to top your naan pizza with whatever toppings you want, but for me, I only eat my pizza plain. Daiya makes excellent mozzarella-style shreds that melt and taste just like real cheese, I’m happy to report. Once again, I opt for a glass of water with my meal, or polish off my first bottle of flavored water that I made around breakfast time.

8:00pm

Around this time, I’m usually reading, writing for the blog, or catching up with my friends over text. I also tend to get very snacky around this time, as a thin-crust plain pizza doesn’t always quite cut it. Some of my favorite late-night snacks are peanut butter, chips, strawberries, granola, or cereal- or even a combination of two. I also tend to drink a lot of water at night, usually if I’m concentrating on one task for a long period of time. I also LOVE to take steaming hot baths, and enjoy a tall glass of cold water during that as well. If it’s a chilly night and I’m not in the mood to work on projects or take a bath, I enjoy making myself a cup of hot cinnamon tea and parking myself in front of my laptop to watch Netflix. Whatever it is I choose to do, I always make sure I’m satisfied, happy, and ultimately, healthy.

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If you’re interested in learning more about my diet, or if you have any suggestions for me, drop a comment below! I look forward to posting again on Wednesday!

xx

Sarah

 

 

(Spoiler alert: it’s good.)

 

For me, becoming a vegetarian did happen overnight. I woke up one day, decided that I was disgusted by the murder of innocent animals, and made up my mind right then and there to stop eating meat. It wasn’t hard in the beginning, and it still isn’t hard now. Even as a vegetarian, there are still tons of perfect comfort food options: grilled cheese, fries, ice cream, macaroni and cheese…

Referencing the list above, I wasn’t always so keen on becoming vegan. Before I was fully educated on the vegan diet, I believed it to be only eating carrots and kale, with a plain glass of water at every meal. Cheesy, gooey, comfort meals were obviously off limits for vegans.

Or so I thought.

Obviously, I’m much more educated on veganism now. In fact, I’m about 95% close to being completely vegan, and I still enjoy flavorful, filling meals. Veganism doesn’t have to be about just eating raw- it’s about finding more ethical and healthier alternatives to the foods you already love. I made myself the world’s gooey-ist dairy-free grilled-cheese sandwich today, and it was fantastic. So why are vegans getting such a bad rep?

I’m taking it upon myself to broadcast the joys of dairy-free cheese products. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Daiya.

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I mean, come on. LOOK AT THAT.

I was first introduced to Daiya Foods by a Buzzfeed article about vegan cheeses (because, you know, Buzzfeed.) The glowing reviews about its “tastes-exactly-like-cheese-but-isn’t-cheese” quality really got me thinking, and before I knew it, I was strolling through Whole Foods with the products in my cart.

According to the Daiya website, their products are completely free of the following:

Dairy (duh)

Eggs

Gluten

Soy

Peanuts

Fish/Shellfish

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Not only are the products better for you health-wise, but the packaging used by Daiya is also eco-friendly. As someone who is an outspoken advocate for sustainability, the eco-friendly aspect of Daiya gives them huge bonus points from me.

Obviously, there are some differences between vegan cheese and “regular” cheese, but the differences really are remarkably subtle. These slices have the same cut, texture, taste, and smell of real cheddar cheese. They’re perfect for sandwiches, and melt decadently onto Boca veggie burgers.

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I also picked up a few boxes of the Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac, in both the cheddar and alfredo variety. I tossed some steamed broccoli into the cheddar macaroni for dinner last night, and to say the least, my results were not disappointing.

I can’t stress enough how similar these Daiya products are to the taste of actual cheese products. Some of the flavors are a bit more bitter and slightly different in texture, but the taste is truly something homey and delicious.

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Works consulted: https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-cheese-brand-daiya-arrives-uk/

https://daiyafoods.com/why-daiya/daiya-difference/

 

I’m all for flavorful fresh produce, especially since it makes up a vast part of my diet. As I am slowly but surely trying to wane myself into being a vegan, the emphasis on getting the most of my food is becoming even more crucial. Here, I have compiled a list of the fruits and vegetables in season this May.

Vegetables:

Rhubarb. Hooray! I must confess, I have a huge place in my heart for this bright, tangy vegetable. Though categorized as a vegetable, rhubarb can be cooked and prepared to have a soft and sweet flavor, ideal for pies and crisps. Growing up, one of my fondest memories is preparing rhubarb crisp with my best friend as a child, happily awaiting until we could dig into its gooey, creamy texture. Just be careful if you are harvesting it- rhubarb leaves are poisonous substances.

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Cauliflower. In my opinion, cauliflower is the Cinderella of vegetables. A little extra care and magic can turn this otherwise bland-looking vegetable into something truly irresistible. Because of cauliflower mild, shy taste, it is an extremely flexible and forgiving vegetable to flavor. Roasting cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt gives cauliflower a crispy, crunchy texture- similar to that of a french fry. Another trendy way to prepare cauliflower is in the form of a pizza crust, which is something I’ve yet to try.

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Kale. Personally, I’m very specific about when and how I like my kale eaten. In fact, I’m so specific, I really only consume it in the form of a green smoothie. Kale is undeniably superb for your health, as it’s loaded with fiber and magnesium. Kale is also remarkably low in calories, making it a great filler-food for a variety of hearty dishes. I do really enjoy the tofu scramble bowl by Amy’s- a brand you can find at your local supermarket- but besides that, I’m rather picky about my daily kale intake.

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Fruits:

Avocados. I challenge you to tell me a fruit more versatile than the saintlike avocado, sent to us by the gods of delicious meals. I love spreading this creamy staple on my toast and then popping an over-easy egg on top- it’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Avocado is a lovely addition to many vegetarian meals as well, such as bean burritos, grilled cheese, and, of course, Mexican food. Finding the perfect avocado can be a tedious equation of time, patience, and freshness, so utilize the magic of May while you can.

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Mango. Packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, mangos can offer a variety of health benefits. I love adding mangos to breakfast smoothies, fruit salsas, or simply just eating them diced. Though they may seem a bit difficult to work with at first, it’s actually very similar to cutting an avocado. Slice off one-third of each side, from the top down, and dice from there. The combination of their bright, sunny color and soft texture makes them a lovely addition to any meal.

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Peaches. Peaches are a treasure chest of nutrition. Not only are they absolutely sweet and delicious, but they are also loaded with anti-aging properties and detoxifying nutrients. Studies show that eating peaches can also reduce reduce the risk of cancer, due to its chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids. Enjoy this tasty fruit in pies, desserts, breakfasts, or as a raw side dish.

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Pineapples. Pineapples deliver a fierce punch of flavor and a handful of health benefits all at once, making them (yet again) a fantastic option for any meal of the day. Pineapple-based breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes can be found all over the web, but my personal favorite way to consume pineapple is in a sunshiny smoothie. The smell of pineapple also carries a nostalgic string of memories for me, as the fruit was often seen around many happy Christmases.

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Cherries. Did you know that raw cherries are eighty-two percent water? Though they may provide little nutritious content, eating a bowl of cherries is inarguably better for you than digging into a bag of chips. Cherries also have a little bit of melatonin present in them, so if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep, try eating a handful before bed.

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Works Consulted: https://cookieandkate.com/2015/whats-in-season-may-produce-guide/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-peach.html

Sarah Desroche

I have been fully vegetarian for about five months now. So many positive changes appeared in my health after making this decision: my nails grew stronger and faster, my energy levels increased, and I ultimately feel so much more positively about my body. One concern I hear a lot from people struggling to adapt to this lifestyle is the stigma around the scary P-word: protein.

There seems to be a common misconception in the United States that sufficient protein can only be found in meat, fish, and other animal products. The reality is, protein is an extremely versatile nutrient found in everything from seeds and lentils, to breads and eggs. Even better, many of these protein sources can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on which meal you’re cooking. Here is a compiled list of my eight favorite sources of vegetarian protein.

1: Chia Seeds. Not only is this protein source perfect for those trying to lose weight, but it can also reduce risk of heart disease. Shake a tablespoon of chia seeds into a morning berry smoothie, or sprinkle it on top of your evening salad. Chia seeds are dense and crunchy, and taste a bit like a poppy seed.

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Chia seeds are great in a smoothie or salad.

2: Boca Burgers. The only con to this tasty soy-based burger brand is that they are not available outside of North America! Boca products are also completely egg-free, and some of their products are also vegan. The burgers almost perfectly mimic the taste of a cheeseburger, a taste I found myself missing upon coming fully vegetarian. You can pick up a box at your local supermarket or club store.

3: Quinoa. There are more than 1,400 quinoa products on the market right now, so why wouldn’t you shake up your diet with some of this crunchy grain? Because quinoa is a great source of both protein and fiber, it will keep you feeling fuller longer. Quinoa is perfect for adding a touch of flavor to your salad, veggie burger, or breakfast bowl.

4: Peanut Butter. Ah, peanut butter, yet another renaissance man of protein. In a healthy portion size (about seven grams), peanut butter provides a punch of protein and several healthy fats. Consuming peanuts can also reduce heart disease, so go ahead and spread it on your toast or sandwiches. Peanut butter is also a delicious staple for any breakfast smoothie bowl.

5: Eggs. While they used to be something of a dirty word in the food industry, eggs are now admired for their nutritional benefits and metabolism-boosting proteins. An egg a day will keep your stomach full and your hunger levels low, along with hosting the fat-burning nutrient choline. Tofu scramble is one of my favorite breakfast egg dishes.

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6: Chickpeas. A primary member of the legume family, chickpeas are chalk-full of energizing vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of both fiber and protein, and can be cooked in various different forms. Enjoy a bag of flavored, cooked chickpeas, or toss them raw onto your salad to add a blast of texture.

7: Hummus. In my nineteen years on this planet so far, I have met many, many hummus fanatics. It’s something about that smooth, creamy taste that draws people in, and the endless amount of pretzels and veggies you can dip into your hummus. Hummus, a hearty mix of amino acids and lysine, is a lovely way to squeeze in some daily complete protein. Hummus is a healthy alternative to putting mustard or mayo on your sandwich, while still delivering a fluffy punch of flavor. Upon asking hummus-enthusiast Eli Ratner about his favorite hummus attributes, he replied, “Oh, what isn’t my favorite thing about hummus? Its subtly complex and satisfying flavor. Its lovely creamy texture. It is a nutritious and satisfying snack.”

8: Peas. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, green peas have always held an especially nostalgic flavor. Though they may appear measly on the outside, eight grams of green peas can supply almost 100% of your daily vitamin C. Peas make an excellent side dish when sauteed with onion and garlic, but are also perfectly filling when consumed raw.

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Works Consulted

https://www.eatthis.com/lose-weight-build-muscle-with-complete-proteins/